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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Prosecutor: Bias charges may come in webcast of sexual encounter


New York (CNN) -- New Jersey prosecutors said Thursday they are determining whether additional charges, including bias, may be brought against two Rutgers University students accused of invading the privacy of fellow student Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide after his sexual encounter with another man was streamed online.
''The initial focus of this investigation has been to determine who was responsible for remotely activating the camera in the dormitory room of the student and then transmitting the encounter on the Internet,'' Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J Kaplan said.
''Now that two individuals have been charged with invasion of privacy, we will be making every effort to assess whether bias played a role in the incident, and, if so, we will bring appropriate charges,'' Kaplan said in a statement.
Under New Jersey law, a person is guilty of bias intimidation if he or she commits a crime with the purpose of intimidating someone because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ethnicity; or if the victim or victim's property was selected as a target because of the same factors.
On the evening of September 19, Rutgers student Dharun Ravi is believed to have sent a message by Twitter about his roommate, Clementi.
CNN

Juventus hold Man City in Europa League


(CNN) -- Manchester City, Europe's biggest-spending club, were held to a 1-1 draw by Juventus in the Europa League on Thursday.
The three-time winners from Italy deservedly took the lead in Manchester through striker Vincenzo Iaquinta's deflected shot after 10 minutes.
But City fought back and equalized through winger Adam Johnson, who latched onto a defense-splitting pass from Yaya Toure and slotted the ball past Juve goalkeeper Alex Manninger.
City dominated the second half but Juventus almost snatched a winner with five minutes remaining when Alessandro Del Piero thundered a free-kick against the underside of the bar.
"We were the better team," Johnson told Channel 5. "I think they were pegged in their own half in the second half and we should have taken the game".
City's next match will be against Polish side Lech Poznan, who went top of Group A on goal difference after a 2-0 victory over Salzburg.
In the night's other matches, defending champions Atletico Madridneeded a second-half penalty from Simao to clinch a 1-1 draw with German side Bayern Leverkusen.
The result leaves the Spanish club bottom of Group B with just a point from their opening two games.
CNN

Woods to face Poulter at Ryder Cup


(CNN) -- World number one Tiger Woods and his partner Steve Stricker will take on English duo Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher in the opening fourballs of the 38th Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Wales, on Friday.
United States captain Corey Pavin named Woods and world number four Stricker as his third pairing for the first round of matches in the biennial contest against Europe.
The duo won all five of their matches at the Presidents Cup last year.
Europe captain Colin Montgomerie said Poulter would "relish" his dual with Woods. The Englishman, ranked 16th in the world, is known for his colorful dress on the course and once claimed he would emerge as the main rival to the American's status as the game's top player.
The first match on Friday morning will feature world number two Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson for the U.S. against a strong European pairing of third-ranked Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, who won the US PGA Championship last month.
CNN

Jimmy Carter discharged from Cleveland hospital


Cleveland, Ohio (CNN) -- Former President Jimmy Carter left a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday afternoon after spending two days recovering from a gastric viral infection.
He will resume his schedule with a meeting this week in Washington, a statement from the Carter Center and MetroHealth Medical Center said.
Carter thanked his medical team for "attentive and comprehensive care" and expressed appreciation to all those who wished him well.
Carter, who turns 86 on Friday, suffered stomach distress Tuesday during a flight to Cleveland, where he had planned to sign copies of his new book, "White House Diary".
He canceled that event as well as others scheduled in Washington after he was rushed to the hospital and doctors recommended that he remain under observation.
CNN

Ecuador's president, claiming coup attempt, 'won't relent'


(CNN) -- Ecuador teetered on the verge of a government collapse Thursday, as national police took to the streets of Quito, the capital, and attacked the president over what they say was the cancellation of bonuses and promotions.
"This is a coup attempt," President Rafael Correa said in a TV interview a couple of hours after police lobbed tear gas at him.
Correa, who was forced to flee to a nearby hospital, said police were trying to get at him.
"They're trying to get into my room, maybe to attack me. I don't know," he said in a telephone interview with the state-run Ecuador TV. "But, forget it. I won't relent. If something happens to me, remember my infinite love for my country, and to my family I say that I will love them anywhere I end up".
A broadcast by the government's Ecuador TV showed mobs on the streets and clouds of black smoke coming from burning tires and garbage. Sporadic looting was reported.
Correa had taken to the streets to try to calm the situation but was soon surrounded and jostled by a crowd and forced to flee after the tear gas incident. Some of those shoving him were police officers in full gear.
CNN

Opium production down in Afghanistan, U.N. says


Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Opium production has dropped significantly in Afghanistan, in large part because of a plant infection in the country's war-torn south, a U.N. report said on Thursday.
"This is good news but there is no room for false optimism; the market may again become lucrative for poppy-crop growers so we have to monitor the situation closely," said Yury Fedotov, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
The development was detailed in the office's 2010 Afghan Opium Survey. Insurgents in Afghanistan have financed their operations through the opium trade.
The report said the total 2010 production was estimated at 3,600 metric tons, down 48 percent from 2009.
"The decrease was largely due to a plant infection hitting the major poppy-crop growing provinces of Helmand and Kandahar particularly hard," the report said.
CNN

World War I to finally end for Germany this weekend


Germany and the Allies can call it even on World War I this weekend.
On Sunday - the 20th anniversary of East and West Germany unifying about a year after the Berlin Wall fell - Deutschland will make the last in a series of reparation payments that has spanned more than nine decades.



The final payment is £59.5 million, about $93.8 million, reported London's Telegraph newspaper. Germany had to pay Belgium and France for material damages and the rest of the Allies the costs of fighting the war.

The initial tally in 1919, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel, was 96,000 tons of gold but was slashed by 40 to 60 percent (sources vary) a few years later. The debt was crippling, just as French Premier Georges Clemenceau intended.

Germany went bankrupt in the 1920s, Der Spiegel explained, and issued bonds between 1924 and 1930 to pay off the towering debt laid on it by the Allied powers in 1919's Treaty of Versailles.

Under the treaties of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Trianon, other Central Powers, namely the Austro-Hungarian empire, were forced to cede significant territory to Poland, Italy, Romania, then-Czechoslovakia and various other Slavic nations.
Germany thought U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteen Points" would provide the foundation for a future peace treaty, but Great Britain, France and Italy were still bitter, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
CNN

Lithuanian man to be tried for 1949 deportations

A Lithuanian man is being accused in court of sending two women to eastern Siberia in 1949, the Prosecutor's Office of Lithuania said on Thursday.
The man, who worked for the Soviet authorities, is thought to have removed two sisters from their country estate in Lithuania and handed them over to the local KGB, who put them on a train to the Irkutsk region in eastern Siberia.
"The sisters remained in exile until 1958," a spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office said.
The man refuses to admit his guilt, despite evidence showing that he and other officials deported Lithuanian citizens in the spring of 1949.
"This is the third case involving crimes against humanity to be handed over to the regional court in the past few years," Prosecutor General Darius Valys said. "Our prosecutors work hard to restore historic justice, which has no statute limitations".
Millions of people were deported to remote areas of the Soviet Union in the 1930s and 1940s. Many died of starvation, disease or exposure in Gulag labor camps.
RIA Novosti

A distant Earth-like exoplanet 'could have life'

Astronomers have detected an Earth-like exoplanet that may have just the right kind of conditions to support life.


Gliese 581g lies some 20 light-years away in its star's "Goldilocks zone" - a region surface temperatures would allow the presence of liquid water.
Scientists say that the newly found world could also potentially have an atmosphere.
Their findings, made with the Keck telescope in Hawaii, appear in the Astrophysical Journal.
The researchers, from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, have been studying the movement of the planet's parent star, a red dwarf called Gliese 581, for 11 years.
Their observations have revealed a number of exoplanets spinning around the star.
Possibility of life
Recently they discovered two new alien worlds, so together with the previous findings, this brings the number of planets orbiting Gliese 581 to six.
But the most important new revelation is that one of those worlds might be the most Earth-like planet yet identified.
"Our findings offer a very compelling case for a potentially habitable planet," said Steven Vogt, an astronomer at UCSC.
"The fact that we were able to detect this planet so quickly and so nearby tells us that planets like this must be really common".
Gliese 581g has a mass about three to four times that of Earth. It orbits its sun in 37 days and is thought to be a rocky world. It has enough gravity to possibly have an atmosphere.
BBC News

Student kills himself after gay sex footage put online


A New Jersey college student has leapt to his death a day after authorities said two students secretly filmed him having sex with a man and broadcast it over the internet.
Tyler Clementi's wallet was found on the George Washington Bridge on 22 September after two witnesses saw someone jump from the structure, authorities told the AP news agency.
Mr Clementi's body has not been found.
Two students have been charged with illegally filming the 18-year-old.
"Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words," Paul Mainardi, a lawyer for Mr Clementi's family, said in a statement confirming the suicide.
BBC News

Islamic veil ban in Dutch coalition deal


A ban on wearing the full Islamic veil in the Netherlands will be part of the government's programme under a pact to form a coalition, party leaders say.
The Liberals and Christian Democrats have had to make concessions to anti-Islamist Geert Wilders to gain his support for their minority coalition.
The deal ends months of deadlock but still needs to be ratified by Christian Democrats in a meeting on Saturday.
The pact includes plans for budget cuts of 18bn euros ($24bn; £15bn) by 2015.
It also tightens rules on immigration and boosts the number of police officers.
The Liberal party (VVD) and the Christian Democrats (CDA) have 52 seats between them in the 150-seat parliament and propose to form a minority government. They would rely on the Freedom Party's 24 seats to pass legislation by a tiny margin.
BBC News

Palestinians call for halt to Israeli settlements


Ramallah, West Bank (CNN) -- Palestinian officials met with U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell on Thursday and called for Israel to halt settlement activities, the chief Palestinian negotiator said.
"We requested the Israeli government to halt all settlement activities including natural growth to give the peace process a chance it deserves," said Saeb Erakat, speaking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
"We are not against the direct negotiations and its continuation, but the one who owns the key to these negotiations and its continuation is the Israeli prime minister," Erakat said, referring to Benjamin Netanyahu.
An Israeli settlement freeze expired on Sunday and more construction started just hours later. That's sparked concern that the controversial issue could become a sticking point that would stall face-to-face talks between Palestinians and Israelis, which resumed earlier this month after an 18-month hiatus.
Palestinian officials have previously said that if building resumes on territory they consider part of a future Palestinian state, they will walk away from the negotiations.
There are news reports that U.S. and Palestinian negotatiators are trying to persuade Israel to extend the freeze at least for another two months.
CNN

Moody's cuts Spain's credit rating over growth fears


Madrid, Spain -- Moody's, the credit rating agency, downgraded Spain's government bonds on Thursday, citing weak economic growth, a deterioration of financial strength and higher borrowing needs.
The downgrade by Moody's by one notch from its top rating of AAA to Aa1 makes it the last of the three big rating agencies to downgrade Spain as a result of the global economic crisis.
The downgrade, which was also applied to Spain's Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring, known as Frob from its Spanish initials, comes with a stable outlook.
"Over the next few years, the Spanish economy is likely to grow by only about 1 per cent on average," Kathrin Muehlbronner, a Moody's vice-president and lead analyst for Spain, said in a statement issued by the agency.
Although the downgrade was anticipated in the financial markets, it will disappoint Elena Salgado, Spanish finance minister, who had hoped that Moody's would diverge from Standard & Poor's and Fitch and leave Spain in the top tier of creditworthy nations.
Apart from sluggish growth prospects, Moody's cited Spain's challenges in reducing its annual budget deficits, which the government has said it will cut from 11.1 per cent of gross domestic product in 2009 to 6 per cent of GDP next year, and 3 per cent in 2013.
CNN

Movie star Tony Curtis dead at 85


(CNN) -- Screen legend Tony Curtis died Thursday, his family said. He was 85.
"My father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages," actress Jamie Lee Curtis said in a statement. "He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him and a wife and in-laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world. He will be greatly missed".
Curtis starred in more than 150 motion pictures and was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 1958's "The Defiant Ones" with Sidney Poitier.
Curtis also is known for his roles in the 1959 movie "Some Like it Hot" with Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon and "Spartacus" in 1960 with Kirk Douglas. He also played the lead role in "The Boston Strangler," released in 1968.
CNN

Fisher-Price recalls millions of toys


(CNN) -- Toy manufacturer Fisher-Price announced Thursday that it has recalled about 10 million toys because they were dangerous to children.
The toy maker said it has recalled about 2.8 million of several types of baby play areas with inflatable balls because of problems with choking. It also recalled 125,000 of the toys in Canada.
The company found that a valve from the inflatable ball can come off and become a choking hazard.
Fisher-Price said it was aware of 46 reports of the valve coming off in the United States and eight incidents in Canada.
"These include 14 reports of the valve found in a child's mouth and three reports of a child beginning to choke. No injuries have been reported," the company said.
More than 7 million tricycles were also being recalled because of a protruding part that had cut children, the company said.
CNN

Ireland unveils bank rescue package


(FT) -- The cost of Ireland's bank bail out is set to reach €34bn ($46 billion) as the central bank on Thursday announced additional capital injections for Anglo Irish Bank and other institutions, putting the budget deficit on track to hit ten times the European Union guidelines for eurozone members.
The regulator said the final bill for Anglo, the bank at the centre of Ireland's disastrous property crash, would be €29.3bn ($40bn). A further capital injection under what it called " severe hypothetical stress scenario" would lift total to €34bn if commercial property prices, having fallen 65 per cent from peak values, stayed at those levels for 10 years.
The bail out costs will lift the fiscal deficit from the planned 11.75 per cent of gross domestic product in 2010 to a spike of 32 per cent, compared with the 3 per cent Maastricht treaty guidelines used by eurozone members.
Allied Irish Banks will need a €3bn ($4bn) in addition to the conversion of the government's existing €3.5bn ($4.7bn) preference share investment, lifting the state stake in the lender to over 90 per cent. The government also announced that the current chairman Dan O'Connor and acting managing director Colm Doherty are to step down.
CNN

China: U.S. bill on yuan would hurt both countries


New York (CNNMoney.com) -- China on Thursday urged the United States to resist protectionism and avoid damaging both nations' economies, following the U.S. House's passage of legislation designed to combat Beijing's manipulation of currency.
"We firmly oppose the U.S. Congress approving of bill. Exercising protectionism only severely damages the relationship and have negative impact on both economies and the global economies," said Jiang Yu, spokeswoman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"We have made our position clear to the U.S. side," she said, when asked whether China planned any retaliatory measures.
The House of Representatives approved the legislation on Wednesday, saying that China's moves result in unfavorable trade conditions for the United States.
The legislation, which authorizes the Commerce Department to impose duties on imports from countries with undervalued currencies, passed by a vote of 348-79.
CNN